Following WVU’s 59-31 loss to Oklahoma in Norman, the Mountaineers will have to wait.
The bowl situation has to shake out.
So the team will have to sit and wait. Which, according to offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, might not be bad for the team.
“We’re pretty banged up,” Spavital said after tackling OU without either QB Will Grier or right guard Kyle Bosch. “I don’t know how much further we can get, so this bowl prep will be a really good time to get healthy.”
Quarterback Chris Chugunov said the loss should not only serve as a time to heal, but to be motivated.
“Everyone has a little bit of a bad taste in their mouths,” he said. “It should be a good month of preparation.”
And what will WVU most work on?
“Improvement in all areas,” he said.
WVU, now 7-5, is can certainly stand some improvement after giving up 646 yards to the 11-1 Sooners. OU scored a touchdown on its first six drives on Saturday. It scored points on its first nine drives. After a late punt, it took a knee after driving on the game’s final possession.
“At the end of the day that’s what a championship team looks like,” said WVU coach Dana Holgorsen.
He stopped but re-started.
“I do want to mention I’m still proud of our guys, still proud of our team. We weren’t picked very high and we finished [tied for] fourth in the Big 12.
“With the Big 12 where it’s at — the most competitive league in college football and most competitive I’ve seen — we’ll figure where we’re going and go to our bowl game. We’ll be looking forward to that.”
Oklahoma and TCU are heading to the Big 12 championship game and Oklahoma State finished third in the regular season at 6-3 in league play. WVU finished 5-4 in Big 12 play along with Texas, Iowa State and Kansas State. All are bowl eligible.
There’s an outside shot Grier could return for bowl play after suffering a broken middle finger, but Spavital said that can’t be counted on.
“When you get in these situations you challenge other guys, like David Sills and Gary Jennings,” he said. “You say, ‘You guys are our leaders now. You can’t act like it’s your rookie season. It’s time to grow up. This is your offense.’ It does hurt when you don’t have a lot of leaders out there though.”
Linebacker David Long was asked if the intimidating atmosphere of OU’s stadium contributed to the team’s significant loss.
“I don’t think it was the mindset at all,” he said. “Players have to be players. We have to make plays.”
WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson was so upset after the game he met the media for 16 seconds before saying Holgorsen should probably fire him.
Holgorsen, however, said he’s not going to get down on the defense and would get to work immediately. Meanwhile, he complimented the offense, which had 387 total yards.
“Kennedy [McKoy] ran hard,” he said. “All three of our backs ran hard. I thought Chugs went in there and battled. I thought our O-line did good. We didn’t have Bosch and the other guys stepped in there and did good. Was happy with what we did to an extent. It’s not, obviously, anywhere close to what the other side looks like. I thought we did what we could.”
Holgorsen said his staff would get to work immediately.
“We’ll start recruiting [Sunday],” he said before planting tongue in cheek. “I think [school athletic director] Shane [Lyons] has promised us about $400 million. Player facilities, tradition… This [at Oklahoma] is where we want to be. We still have a lot to do.”